Considering "agnostic" refers to (lack of) knowledge, and "atheist" refers to (lack of) belief...?

Why do people claim that atheists are either more closed-minded than agnostics, or that all atheists, instead, are actually agnostic --as if they can't be ultimately both?

Atheists don't claim to definitively know anything (that's not the nature of scientific thought anyway), they simply say they don't believe in god due to lack of evidence. No one is actually completely agnostic-- everyone rejects things based on insufficient evidence.

If I said some god sent me to earth to kill all people with blue eyes and stopping me would cause the Earth to spontaneously combust, would you have much trouble taking the chance of stopping me?

Are you really equally open to every random hypothesis? If I claimed to have given birth to an invisible flying chinchilla that was beyond the "plane of birthing," and there was no medical evidence of my having given birth, how much would you even consider that I was telling you the truth?


Not that I'm trying to start an atheist vs. agnostic thing here, I'm just kind of sick of people saying things like "atheists should just admit their agnostic," while apparently not understanding the terms.

Update 2:


Update 3:

Considering "theism" means "belief in god," "atheism" means "lack of belief in god"-- belief being key.

Atheism has no organization and connected or implied other beliefs or disbeliefs. It is not a religion, it is lack of theistic religion.

14 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Bingo. Well said.

    I do "know" that gods don't exist, though I wouldn't say that I "definitively know" that they don't exist. I could turn out to be wrong, but I wouldn't let the remote possibility that I'm wrong stop me from saying that I know there are no gods, just as I wouldn't let the remote possibility that I'm wrong stop me from saying that I know there are no flying purple elephants.

    I can't imagine what more anyone could ask - atheism is the epistemological stance that faithfully follows the state of the evidence.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I'll give you points for trying.

    Getting people to use the right term, at the right time, is an uphill battle, in R&S.

    Up until a fortnight ago, or so, I was pretty sure that my understanding, of some thirty years duration, of the word Persecute was pretty clear.

    Apparently, I don't know what I'm talking about, though.

    I mean, I've "been put right" on the issue. I now have a much clearer understanding of the meaning of the word. It is making it a little difficult for me to read my way through a history of WW2, though. Somehow, references to the Nazis poking fun at, and calling Jews names doesn't ring true.

    Still, what do historians know, anyway? Everyone knows that the beating heart of popular culture, and the crucible of the evolution of the English language lies right here.

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  • Betty
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Never visited websites about bible contradictions, I base my conclusions on personal knowledge of the bible and research on both christian and secular archeology along with other sciences. I believe that many Christians know their bible but their views and interpretations are largely swayed by the church community that they are in - you hear the same "pat" answers to questions like why Jesus's genealogies don't match (either in number of generation, linage, or direct royal linage to Solomon). ro what happens to the billions of people that god ignored throughout the centuries. Conversely, Christians have a tendency to believe any pseudo science that seems to support their beliefs. Or while knowing the bible inside and out, have no clue of how it fits or doesn't in a historical context. For example, the Jews had no need to ask the Romans to crucify Jesus, or that the Temple curtain was not recorded as being destroyed until 70 AD.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Well... I think religious people should admit they're agnostic, too. So I probably won't stop saying that about atheists either.

    Still, if you see that chinchilla, can I pet him? Chinchillas are soft and fuzzy. :0)

    Edit: I'm with Vishal.... except I do believe in a deity. I just don't know.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I think in general most agnostics tend to be theists - they don't know if there is a god but tend to believe that one exists.

    So, in general, (waaay general) agnostics still believe that there is some kind of god where atheists don't.

    What I think is interesting is the amount of time we spend debating something that NO ONE will ever really know the answer to...

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  • 1 decade ago

    I am Atheist, not Agnostic. I was Agnostic but have since moved to no gods, no supernatural stuff. As for what someone else believes, that's their choice and more power to them...

    Source(s): IMHO
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  • 1 decade ago

    "gnosis" in greek means "knowledge." The 'a' prefix means "without." The word atheist in Greek has the same "a" prefix, but the root word is "theos" means "without God." Thus, we do live without religion because we live our lives without the belief in a theos...i.e. a god.

    Faith doesn't require knowledge. It is the crucifixion of the mind. If the only way you can accept the notions of religion are on faith and faith alone, than you admit religion doesn't have the strenght intellectually and logically and factually to stand on its own merit. Faith is faith, fact is fact. Fact doesn't require beleif.

    If you saw scientists meet every sunday to praise gravity and sing songs to gravity, for what goes up up up comes down down down, I think we all would think they did not beleive gravity was fact, but had faith in it. We would also think they were very insecure about it...

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  • 1 decade ago

    It is my understanding that you are not seeing the terms in the way they are commonly used. Agnostic is the Philosophical/epistemological position that it is not possible to know regarding the existence/ non-existence of the Deity. Atheism is the position that such deity positively does not exist. Thus Agnosticism is essentially a statement regarding science,/ knowledge, whereas Atheism is rather a religion.

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  • Vishal
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Well put. I think some people assume that atheists purport to "know" that God does not exist. Some do, but not all.

    I personally would say that I believe that gods do not exist, but that I don't know whether or not they do. (And I think most atheists would share this position.)

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Giving birth to an invisible flying chinchilla?

    You say the weirdest things.


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